I have been receiving email wondering what I have been doing and why I have not updated my web site in some time. The short answer is that we have a new baby. Kestrel is now 12 weeks old, and occupying a lot of my time. I will be getting back to metalwork and other art, but for now I am spending as much time as I can being a new dad. I will start teaching again in the coming spring and summer, and we will be returning to selling at festivals as soon as mom and baby are ready to be sleeping outdoors.
Thank you so much. My friend Momoko Okada was able to raise the money to produce video master classes on traditional Japanese inlay techniques and metalsmithing. She plans to work with master inlay artist Kazuo Kashima, in Tokyo, a fifth generation metalsmith, an expert teacher. I am not one who is easily impressed, but Learning from him completely changed how I think about the expressive use of metals in my artwork. Thank you all so much for supporting her in this project. I’m sure you will all be getting super cool gifts, and before long we will all get to see these video classes.
Recently I had the opportunity to take a class on Japanese patina techniques. I didn’t want to just make little swatches of colored metal, because I wanted to learn how to get good results on real metalwork with various textures, shapes and combinations of alloys. I decided on making whorls for drop spindles, as they are small, functional, and can be made in more or less any combination of metals. This whorl is an alloy of 5% silver and 95% copper, and inlayed with little silver raised dots. On the other side I have inlayed a gold beetle. I have posted images of all the spindles I made for the class on the metalwork page, in the Contemporary Work section of this site. (See menu above)
New shop in Mud Bay
Not long ago I was asked to make a number plate and porch light for a new shop opening in the old oyster-man’s house on Mud Bay Rd. This I did, riveting copper over stainless steel for the numbers, and beating copper into the form of an oyster shell for the light shade. I love the look of the darkened copper against the cedar. The shop is called Bay Mercantile, and is at 5025 Mud Bay Rd, Olympia, WA, across from the tavern. They sell oysters and clams, beer and wine, artwork and antiques, plus quite a few other things. If you are in the area, stop by and you can see some of my work displayed there.
Having sold the disc brooch that I wore for over ten years, I decided to make a replacement. This one is a bit larger, at 95 mm diameter, with many small silver bosses. In the cut out areas I have carved stylized dogs chasing rabbits. The central rosette, the four trefoil motifs, and the laurel leaves are 24K gold inlay.
New Book and Video
I recently received my copy of Unlocking the Secrets of the Ribbon Torc and the companion video. They are even better than I had hoped. I have posted a review on my book review page, in the section of this site for metalsmiths. Brian Clarke has been working on recreating the techniques involved in making Iron Age ribbon torcs for over ten years, and it shows. You can order both the book and video on line at: http://www.ribbontorc.com/ I learned to make ribbon torcs from Brian and it is a truly amazing process that you must see to believe. If you are in North America, be sure to order the video in North American format, not PAL format.
Not long ago I was working with a student from The Evergreen State College, helping him get the metalworking skills for his study contract. I’m really proud of how hard he worked, even with all the other demands of school and work. One of his projects was a copper and glass reliquary that holds an old nail. Not one of the alleged nails of the true cross, this one is from the ruins of a bombed out church, that was destroyed by the fascists in the Spanish Civil War. I don’t know much about the place it came from, but among the other bits of metal from the ruins was a clue as to why the church may have been a target. There were two “E” shaped pieces of rusted sheet metal, which I recognized as transformer plates, of the sort that was used in old radio sets.
Silver Chased Coronet
This silver circlet, is chased with a design of stylized vines and leaves, and set with glass beads provided by the customer. To do the work I had to make a jig for the pitch in which the silver gets set, and a new set of texture punches. You can see both on the bench in the picture below. I would like to thank Jim for ordering this project, and Brian for letting me copy so many of his antique punch tools.
As you can see I am rebuilding my web site in a new format. This should allow me to update my pages and change the site as need be. It will also allow me to post more detailed pictures of my work, and keep everyone informed about shows and workshops, and other events that I will be a part of. The site is still very much under construction, but please feel free to explore, and to come back in the future to see what new things I post in the coming weeks and months.